Eight drug suspects nabbed locally in cross-border crackdown - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Eight drug suspects nabbed locally in cross-border crackdown

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A multinational crackdown on cross-border drug cartels in response to the slaying of a U.S. immigration officer in Mexico resulted this week in eight arrests in the San Diego area, authorities reported Thursday.

"While we have no evidence to connect any person arrested to the heinous murder of (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agent Jaime Zapata, we will be questioning everyone that we come in contact with during the length of this operation in an attempt to develop any intelligence that could assist in the murder investigation," said Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Amy Roderick.

In addition to the local capture of trafficking suspects, whose names were not immediately released, investigators seized three assault rifles, six pistols, a shotgun, an undisclosed quantity of marijuana and about $40,000 in U.S. currency.  

The ongoing operation on both sides of the border was "part of a unified, intelligence-driven effort with ICE and our law enforcement partners against Mexican drug trafficking organizations," as well as a "direct response" to the killing last week of the federal officer, Roderick said.

Zapata and fellow U.S. immigration agent Victor Avila came under fire in Mexico on Feb. 15 when their government SUV was run off the road by several vehicles occupied by gunmen. Avila also was wounded but survived.

Roderick said she could provide no further details about the crackdown because it remained under way, with federal officers "still on the streets."

"Attacking organizations at all levels of the spectrum is an effective strategy, and DEA will sustain its attack on these organizations until they are disrupted and dismantled," she said.

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